I've begun a new fantasy series - Steven Erikson's "The Malazan Book Of The Fallen". It's currently eight overweight paperbacks in size, with two more pending. SE is an anthropologist and an archaeologist (lucky sod) and spent ages creating the setting with a mate for a role-playing campaign. The first volume, 1999's "Gardens Of The Moon", is far and away the most detailed make-believe world I've ever blindly belly-flopped into. I wouldn't say it's welcoming exactly, but there's something about the stream of unanswered questions that makes it compelling.